When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.
But the more I called Israel, the further they went from me.
They sacrificed to the Baals and they burned incense to images.
It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by the arms;
But they did not realize it was I who healed them.
I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love;
I lifted the yoke from their neck and bend down to feed them…
My people are determined to turn from me. Even if they call to the Most High, he will by no means exalt them.
How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel?
How I can I treat you like Admah? How can I make you like Zeboiim?
My heart is changed within me; all my compassion is aroused.
I will not carry out my fierce anger, nor will I turn out and devastate Ephraim.
For I am God, and not man –
The Holy One among you.
I will not come in wrath.
They will follow the Lord; He will roar like a lion.
When he roars, His children will come trembling from the west.
They will come trembling
Like birds from Egypt,
Like doves from Assyria.
I will settle them in their homes, Declares the Lord.
Who Am I?
God is a home-maker.
Not the one who bakes cookies, organizes the kids to get where they need to go, or vacuums up the mess.
Well, I mean, yeah, He does all that too.
But more than that, he literally makes our homes. He brings us back to home – Him. Every. Single. Time.
I was examining one of those “come to Jesus” diagrams the other day. I am going to become a member of my church in the near future, and so in preparation, I was reviewing the one-page document provided to review. I have seen these a million-gagillion times before.
One time in Arkansas, I was accused of not having adequate understanding of the cross by a leader of a ministry as he was showing Michelle and me this well-known “bridge” to Christ.
I also saw it numerous times in Rwanda among missionaries seeking to share Christ with their communities.
Yet, I noticed something different this time around.
On one side of the page you have “sinful humanity”. It’s pretty self-explanatory. We’re messed up, full of our complications and brokenness. On the other, you have our “Holy God”. Jesus fills that gap; I recently read that in pursuance of reconciliation, Christ came not only to create a horizontal community with all of humanity, His presence fulfilled a way for us “to be right” with God. I like that; Christ works vertically and horizontally.
So, what was different? Well, for the first time, the barriers to God Himself spoke a lot more clearly to me:
good deeds, religion, morality, and philosophy.
My eyes wanting to skim over the document and move on, I craned my neck and came back to the text and read once again those words above. For some reason, it resonated. Ah ha! I know those barriers. All too well.
God is a home-maker because His home doesn’t need good deeds, religion, morality, or philosophy. He desires love. This love is different though; it’s not the kind that’s forced, fake, or frugal. It comes from a higher place. My experience has been that when we love truly it’s not even really coming from our own abilities. It’s literally coming from Him.
He wants us to live like this. He commands us to.
Love one another. As I have loved you so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
I sigh heavily reading that because it hurts to know how far from that I have ventured.
In many times in my life, I have felt that kind of love knowing it was intricately possible. I think that’s why I have been able to make many “homes” in my life; I’ve let boundaries go down and see what happens.
Yet, every time I decide I am going to do the “right” thing, or follow the “right” rule, or believe the “right” idea, I fail.
There’s a few things wrong with that sentence. There is far too many “I’s”. That needs to go.
The other thing is, I can’t do that anymore. I just need to come home. To Him. He will set my paths in accordance to His will. He will build a foundation of peace. He will build the walls of security. He will create a roof of promise in my life. He will open a door of respect, acceptance, and growth. And, for the sake of a smile, I know He’ll cook the best comfort food the world has to offer. Let’s be real.
He will, because He has. Jesus did that. It’s done. So, our command now begins.
So, who is He?
He’s our hope for a Home. A different kind of home, I think. It’s His lovely dwelling place.
In light of this kind of hope for a home, I wrote a poem this last Monday in my writing class.
We had been reading a few examples of personification of emotion and were challenged to write our own interpretation of a particular emotion. I wrote one about being lazy (it’s quite amusing and inspired by the recent snow days having kept us trapped in our walls of warmth) and I wrote another about hope.
The kind of hope I was inspired by was this hope for a home in Christ. I may be a wanderer in many ways, but along with His promise of a home, we also have hope to push forward by. So, here is what came from that:
Hope wears a white tinted robe and escorts the elderly woman to the altar.
The old woman bows, slowly lifting her face, heart, soul, and sweaty palms containing her offering.
25 cents. 100 francs. Ijana. It’s enough.
Hope tells her so and she believes.
Her shaky stature
Held by a stick
Builds in power
because indeed, where Hope visits, Truth comes too.
Hope eats fluffy blueberry pancakes for brunch with vitamin C-heavy orange juice;
She needs valiant energy to fill her friends up and up and up
Again and again and again
Partial to long walks alone, She seeks.
She watches sadly as burdens and failure breed Apathy.
She waits, cries, and bides Her time like a midnight ghost.
Never too early; never too late.
A night owl, She comes in the desperate hour of twilight and silent breezes.
She wears a blue-turquoise cardigan to cover the goose bumps –
In Her, Fear can exist but it will never thrive.
She pushes Her blonde hair back; looking forward.
She has achy muscles from setting a path ahead.
Hope is busy.
She visits homes in long lost lands. In cities. In cumbersome offices. In villages looked over.
She is everywhere. But too often, Her friends are too blind to see Her.
She abounds when people share her, talk about her, and then fulfill her mission –
Hope breeds Love.
Like a flock of white sheep, she will come and carry us home.
She never failed, and she never will.
Hope, our sweet angel.
 Hosea 11: 1-4; 7-11
 Living Sacrifice, Robert Gelinas, p. 61-62.
 Psalm 103: 5-22
 John 13: 34-35
 Psalm 84:1